THE MEDITERRANEAN, May/June, 2022 (11)

THE MEDITERRANEAN, May/June, 2022 (11)

2022-06-16T20:19:37+00:00June 16th, 2022|Lee & Paul Update|

Twelve kilometres from the northern tip of Sardinia is Corsica and as our ferry approaches land we can see huge white cliffs and buildings perched right on the side of them…what an imposing sight but where is the port?

Bonifacio is built precariously right on the edge of the limestone cliffs
The natural harbour has to be one of the most spectacular we’ve ever seen

You only see the harbour as you start to come into it and the heavily fortified old medieval town sits seventy metres above the water. Attackers would have had their hands full trying to get in here!

The steep road from the ferry takes you straight up to the old town
Luxury yachts come and go in the beautiful harbour

Bonifacio is the oldest town in Corsica (founded around 830), a gem, and quite simply unforgettable! Perched on top of magnificent limestone cliffs, it really is a standout place to visit. The town’s charm and proximity to idyllic beaches make it a popular summer destination predominantly for residents of mainland France. One minute it’s all Italian, then we jump off a ferry and it’s all French! The people are taller, some have blue eyes and we have a whole new language on the menu boards to conquer.

Bonifacio is actually a living museum
Standing on one of the drawbridges
If the enemy was coming they could give the wheels a push and the drawbridge would come up with a rush
Great little bars, restaurants and shops in all sorts of places
View from the city wall of the stark cliffs and pristine waters
Pardon?
Old worn steps go up and up into the darkness
It really is quite an amazing place

Claimed to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in France, the Bonifacio cemetery is really unusual with all the small chapels laid out in streets with garden areas…like a small abandoned town…what the…?

It’s actually kind of spooky!
Inside the doors are shelves for coffins – anything from 3 to 12

We leave early out of Bonifacio and the roads are more gentle as we head north, with lots of stone-walled bridges. Paul has us heading bush on a minor road with extensive views out over the sea as we climb and climb. The houses seem more loved and things seem more organised and yes, we can find breakfast!

We are heading for those craggy mountains
Freshly cut jamon (ham), fromage (mozarella cheese) and tomato on grilled panini for breakfast
Guess they ran out of money to keep this country estate

Corsica is very mountainous and unspoilt with lots of dense forest and craggy peaks so the ride is lots of gentle curves under a wonderful tree canopy which provides respite from the afternoon heat. My visor is up all day taking in the wonderful pungent smells coming from the vegetation. The French have really mastered the making of these roads and we don’t think we’ve ever ridden somewhere like this with the consistency of non-stop corners and good roads for hundreds of kilometres.

The beautiful dense forest of oaks and chestnut trees provides the best riding canopy
Riding through occasional picturesque villages
Fabulous views at the top of each pass
Hard to capture the scale of this riding terrain

Steeped in tradition, full of flavour and proudly local, Corsican cuisine draws on both French and Italian influences but has its own very distinct character. We are in Corte, once the capital of Corsica, and wild boar stew (we’ve seen plenty of these guys on the roads) is on the menu. Paul thinks it tastes quite gamey but thoroughly enjoys the rich sauce and tender meat. I order some cannelloni with spinach and brocciu cheese (locally made from goat or sheeps whey) and served in a thick tomato sauce – just delicious.

Bikesnbeers enjoying the colours of Corte
Old town Corte

The roads in Corsica (as in Sardinia and Greece) are all free of speed advisory signs on curves and it just gets you wondering why we have them on every corner back home! When there is no sign you have to use your nouse and I think it keeps you more alert on the road.

Hard to capture the sheer scale and colours of the scenery on this road

The riding out of Corte until we hit Ajaccio on the coast is full of spectacular scenery as we climb up to Col de Vergio, Corsica’s highest road pass (just under 1,500 metres). It’s one of the island’s most stunning mountain roads with rocky mountain peaks, massive pine forests, river valley’s, hundreds of stone bridges and heaps of animals to keep us on our toes which include cows, goats and even a mummy black boar and her entire litter squealing as they rush to get off the bitumen.

Some of the most beautiful coastal scenery
The picturesque town of Porto

We have come to Corsica to ride motorbikes and see for ourselves if these roads are what they boast about and every day we find something else to go wow about. The twisties never stop and the scenery is to die for…what more could we ask?

18 Comments

  1. Dave June 19, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Wow what a great trip looking forward to seeing you once home xxx🤗

    • Lee June 21, 2022 at 12:19 pm

      Cold beer or two I reckon xxx

  2. Beryl June 18, 2022 at 11:22 pm

    Great pics Lee.
    Love your finger Paul .
    What a wonderful journey. 😘😘

    • Lee June 19, 2022 at 3:55 am

      Cheers Beryl…see you in a couple of weeks xxx

  3. Sue McDonald June 18, 2022 at 11:09 am

    What stunning shots you always take ! Beautiful journey you’re having!!
    Really enjoying this great “ride”!

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 11:48 am

      Great Sue, we’ll get you on a bike yet!!

  4. Daisy Meyers June 18, 2022 at 12:29 am

    Very jealous! Looks like such a beautiful and interesting place.

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 6:11 am

      Thanks Daisy, nice to have places to dream about and maybe put on your radar. Love to you guys xxx

  5. Trish Wagner June 17, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    Wow, simply wow!!!

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 6:10 am

      It was pretty amazing Trish, so much lush forest and majestic mountains xxx

  6. Sue Hird June 17, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    That scenery is spectacular, and I wouldn’t have assumed that the roads were good in Corsica.
    Have never thought about visiting but it all looks wonderful. Keep on enjoying and keep on sharing it with us!
    By the way, what was Paul hoping to see on those mausoleums?

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 6:09 am

      Ha, each one was actually quite unique and set up with eternal candles and plastic flowers like a little chapel. Some were full and some had spaces and got you wondering about how they worked it when their kids married etc. We only managed to see part of Corsica…there’s a lot more, amazing little place xxx

  7. Hilda June 17, 2022 at 4:26 am

    WOW!!! The scenery shots are spectacular!

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 6:06 am

      Thanks Hil, hard to capture with a bike. On the tail end now xxx

  8. Sue June 17, 2022 at 1:45 am

    Did you do that ride on one day? 8hrs 30?
    Love your writing X

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 6:03 am

      Hi Sue, no it’s the way Google Maps does its job. Cheers for that xxx

  9. Susie Cochrane June 16, 2022 at 9:08 pm

    You should write for a motorbike/travel magazine Lee

    • Lee June 18, 2022 at 5:57 am

      Ha! Not young, blonde and pretty enough Suz!!

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